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Most of us are still in the “Purple Zone” and over the last year romance has taken a back seat to survival, yet there is an oft-overlooked rich history on this day of courtship and kindness. Work issues still abound, but let’s take a moment and be grateful for the old and the new. Here, we celebrate the spirit of the day and truly, the employee of the year.

Whatever the history of Valentine’s Day, in many ways, the holiday has become emblematic of one central concept — companionship. And though romantic companionship often takes center stage with its adornments of thorned roses, red cellophane, and heart shaped chocolates, companionship can be so much broader. Whether it be for those in our work place, professional organizations, neighborhoods, or communities, being a companion or friend to those in need is something worth celebrating collectively this Valentine’s Day.

In that general spirit, and in the midst of COVID-19, we found a perfect example of that companionship. Principal Henry Darby of North Charleston High School works two jobs, as a principal and on the Charleston County Council, but when he saw his students in desperate need of support to buy food and clothes to be able to go to school, he decided to get a third. Principal Darby found a night job in August of last year, stocking shelves in a department store from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. and gave all his earnings to the children in his school. He has been doing this three days a week during COVID-19 and was found out by one of his students. The local paper discovered his kindness and ran a story on him. Since, he has been awarded the highest civilian honor his state could bestow, The Palmetto Award. Principal Darby was never in it for the award; he has lived a life of service and when he saw need, he found a way to contribute.

This Valentine’s Day let’s be inspired by those who are working to solve problems, and let’s carry their torch forward. Make a difference in a real way in your work and in your community.

From all of us at GT Employment, Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Photo of Charles O. Thompson Charles O. Thompson

Charles Thompson focuses his practice on employment litigation and counseling representing clients through all phases of Class Actions and Single Plaintiff cases. Charles has wide-ranging experience litigating employment-related issues for public and private companies, having handled over 1,000 employment matters for clients ranging

Charles Thompson focuses his practice on employment litigation and counseling representing clients through all phases of Class Actions and Single Plaintiff cases. Charles has wide-ranging experience litigating employment-related issues for public and private companies, having handled over 1,000 employment matters for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to Silicon Valley startups. He has tried employment, commercial, and professional liability cases to verdict and directed verdict, and has litigated and appealed cases from California State Courts to the United States Supreme Court.

Charles represents employers in wage and hour cases, as well as EEOC class actions, in state and federal courts across the United States and has broad experience appearing before the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the Employment Development Department, and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor.

In addition to his trial and counseling work, Charles serves as a private and judicial mediator and arbitrator, and has acted as a pro-tem judge upon request of the court. He has broad experience in binding arbitrations and trial. He has taught trial advocacy, diversity, employment and substance abuse to clients and industry organizations.

Throughout his career, Charles has been a champion for diversity and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the board of Directors for the Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco. He actively supports and promotes diversity efforts and collaborates with clients on diversity issues.

Photo of Anthony E. Guzman II Anthony E. Guzman II

Anthony Guzman represents employers in the defense of complex wage & hour class and collective actions, including those involving claims under California’s Private Attorneys General Act. He has wage & hour trial experience, and has argued in both state and federal court, as

Anthony Guzman represents employers in the defense of complex wage & hour class and collective actions, including those involving claims under California’s Private Attorneys General Act. He has wage & hour trial experience, and has argued in both state and federal court, as well as before state agencies such as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Anthony also has notable experience in representing employers in sexual harassment, pay disparity, and trade secret disputes.

Anthony is an active member of the legal community, both in and outside the workplace. He regularly writes on various employment law topics, including the ever-changing legal landscape of employment arbitrations. He also serves as one of the coaches for U.C. Berkeley, School of Law’s mock trial program, where he coached their Labor & Employment trial team to a national championship during his first competitive season.